Photos by Gnarmads. Words by Matt Kruszelnicki.
Baltimore was founded in 1729, and is the largest independent city in America. Dubbed the ‘city of neighborhoods’ it also has one of the biggest seaports on the Atlantic saturated with history dating back to the first explorers, revolutionary and civil wars. We were initially charmed by the city in 2012 during a bicycle trip where we met Nino Almazon and Steph Murdock. They have shown us overwhelming hospitality, and we’ve been back to visit almost every year since.
On Saturday we packed an overnight bag to catch a morning chinatown bus for $35 round trip, and kidnapped Gnarminion Dean Mendez to join us for the adventure- the ride was only 3.5 hours and we arrived in the outskirts of the city by afternoon. Nino picked us up and brought us to a bomb mexican spot for lunch while we watched a storm roll in, with hail the size of gumballs and rain flooding the streets. We swam back to the car and decided to seek refuge at Baltimore’s largest indoor skatepark to be greeted with a rainbow!
Charm City Indoor Skatepark is one of the largest indoor parks we’ve ever been to, enormous and crammed with all sorts of obstacles. Miniramp room with spine and variations, bowl, street course, BMX jump course, foam pit, proper vert ramp and multi level street course. It was wet and slippery as ice though, unmaintained holes and masonite warp but it was still worth the skate and shelter.
After changing out of soggy clothes at Nino’s house, we went to The Ottobar for skatenight! Pool tables, cheap drinks and a special screening of Threads SuperVisual, an awesome local skate video with members from Vacation Skateboards and more. It was so good to see many familiar faces and new friends. After a late night, Nino woke us up early with a struggle and we headed to the skatepark near his house.
Skatepark of Baltimore is located in Hamden, Baltimore. Stephanie Murdock has been creating SOB for 12 years, as a nonprofit & working with the city council for years of push and pull. When we visited 5 years ago it was just a parking lot with crusty DIY obstacles, and a pile of rubble that would soon become a bowl as the first phase. Every year we returned there was more built and now its finally finished, another amazing park by Artisan Skateparks. We had a great Sunday morning skate session with the locals before deciding to take Dean to see some skate history..
Lansdowne Skatepark is truly a relic from the skateboard world. It is one of America’s oldest skateparks, built in 1978! Located on a large hill behind a quiet neighborhood, the park is a giant ditch and flowing snake run with many humps, rollers and options for fast lines. The ground is rough and everyone feels the cheese grater at least once while being here. We met an older gentleman who was sharing stories of skating here almost 30 years ago, and now he’s here skating with his teenage son & passing on the torch.
We made it back to the bus stop at 3pm, the same spot we arrived at exactly 24 hours ago- but its felt like days. Thank you Nino for always taking care of us and being our Life Coach. Thank you Steph Murdock for the skatepark and all your hard work, for all the stoke and hospitality over the years! Artisan Skateparks you fuckin’ rule and shoutout to Gary Smith and VU Skateshop for holding it down and growing the community!
Thank you skateboarding.